So, I have this friend named Valerie.
And I'm about to embarrass the bajeezus out of her.
But, when you're amazing like she is, you have to know people will notice.
Valerie and I have known one another about 5 and 1/2 years. We met when our little baby girls were in the same daycare class together. I remember the night I met her, at Back to School Night (in true Bennett fashion, we hadn't realized you are expected to leave the kids at home and we were the only ones in the entire nursery class who had brought their kid along. Oops). But I digress. I remember thinking she was super cool, that were I not so sleep deprived and actually thinking straight, I'd want to be friends with her EVEN IF our kids weren't in the picture. But, as life happens, we didn't really connect other than to say hi, and to continue to say hi and make small talk at drop off or pick up for months thereafter.
About a year and a half later, as the girls transitioned to the next class up, we somehow happened to discover that they lived down the street from us - as in, 10 houses away down the street. Oh, and by then our girls were totally best friends. And Valerie and I were slightly less sleep deprived and decided to start doing some playdates together. And, as
fate would have it God planned it, Valerie turned out to be my best friend as well.
Val, her husband Rik and their sweet Sofia were absolutely Heaven sent to us. The girls played together, Val and I walked together in the mornings, we cried together and we laughed through the crappy stuff life had started throwing at the both of us by then. We shared our deep abiding faith in God and love of Jesus as a roadmap for our lives.
Val really is like me, but in a different body. Except that she's not OCD. At.all. And she makes fun of me for not liking sand. Or dirt. Or anything icky, sticky or gross. AT ALL. (Seriously, we totally got each other's kids - Fia like me, likes order in her universe and can't stand to be dirty (holla girl - I so got your back on that one!); Sierra and Bodie, like Val, are both free spirits who are magnetically attracted to dirt. I love God's sense of humor!)
Oh, and Val is super flexible. As in, did the splits on my kitchen floor at the tender age of 39. On purpose. (We won't talk about the muscle she pulled doing it. True story.) On the other hand, I have spent months in physical therapy because I can't be bothered to spend 2 minutes after a run stretching. I once had a physical therapist tell me he didn't understand how I could possibly still be walking around with as tight as all my muscles were. Also a true story.
But other than those 2 differences, Val and I really are so similar and I am SO grateful for her friendship. She has been an incredible friend to me. The first time Bodie came home from the hospital, she and Rik willingly grabbed Sierra at the last minute and let her stay there while Dusk and I got Bodie. And they took Sierra 1,000 other times when Bodie was so critical we were having to run to the doctor, to the hospital, etc. She was the very first person (besides my mom) I let watch Bodie when Dusk and I went on a date (ok, maybe not a date - I honestly don't remember where we went. But it was somewhere we couldn't take the kids and she watched the kids. It was probably a CPR class or something equally exciting.) And when they moved all the way across the country (yes I am still bitter), Bodie went on his first airplane ride this past summer so that Sierra could see Sofia and I could see Valerie. You get the picture. SHE IS AMAZING.
But what she will be doing for us this summer truly tops everything amazing thing she has done yet.
She is flying out here. All the way from South Carolina. To be here for Bodie's Fontan. Seriously. She is leaving her husband, her daughter, her family to help ours. She is putting her life on hold to be out here during our time of crisis. She didn't even give me a choice. She just said "I'm coming. Give me the date." I don't have family close that can help us. That can comfort Sierra. That can be there for me (which may be the hardest role in all of this!). That can sit by our side. That can put her arms around me when my fear takes over. That can gently and lovingly remind me that I am a CHILD OF GOD first and foremost, and a mother second. Who can remind me of my place in the universe. Who gets our family dynamic and steps right in. Oh and who loves the crap out of my kids.
Valerie is our family. And the gift she is giving us to be here with us is more than I can ever thank her for, more than I can even describe into words.
Like I said, everyone needs a friend like Valerie.
Just don't take mine.
At least not until after July.
I tried to find a picture of Val and I together, but I honestly couldn't. I think we're always behind the camera. But Fia is basically a mini-Val and Sierra is basically a mini-me, so I just grabbed a pic of the girls and edited it to look like it was from the 70's. Picture these 2 girlies in about 30(ish) years and you'll get me and Val. ;-)